Republicans are right to draw line on taxes

In Notes by Mark Hillman

The culture of Washington is one of compromise.  Go along.  Get along.  Get something done – good, bad or otherwise.

Sometimes compromise is necessary.  When the levers of power are divided, reality dictates two choices: live with the status quo or do some “horse trading” in order to make changes that are marginally better.

When Republicans in Congress compromised on the so-called fiscal cliff, they acknowledged that Barack Obama won re-election, in part, by campaigning on the idea of raising taxes on “the rich.”

Republicans fared remarkably well on that compromise.  By conceding a tax increase on those who make more than $400,000 a year, Republicans secured most of the 2003 income tax cuts that otherwise would have expired.

That brings us to the dreaded “sequester,” which President Obama’s White House concocted but now wants to disavow.  As president, Obama presides over annual deficits of more than $1 trillion – borrowing 30 cents of every dollar spent – but suggests that to cut a mere $85 billion (just over two percent) from a $3.7 trillion budget would result in calamity.Read More

The President who cares mostly about himself

In Blog by Mark Hillman

Richard Cohen, a reliably liberal columnist for the Washington Post, unloaded on Barack Obama in today’s op-ed. Not that he’s going to vote for Romney, but Cohen certainly hits the nail on the head about our Narcissist in Chief:

“Obama never espoused a cause bigger than his own political survival.”

“Bobby Kennedy showed his anger, his impatience, his stunned incredulity at the state of black America. Obama shows nothing.”

“Robert F. Kennedy’s appeal is obvious: authenticity. He cared. He showed it. People saw that and cared about him in return. With Obama, the process is reversed. It’s hard to care about someone who seems not to care in return.”

Ouch!  Any wonder the Left is depressed?  Even though they will still vote for him, they know Obama is an empty suit who only takes risks to try to ensure his own political survival.

2012 Ballot Recommendations

In Notes by Mark Hillman

As many have requested my recommendations regarding amendments and judges on the 2012 Colorado General Election ballot, I am posting them for readers’ information.

Amendment S – State Personnel System

Recommendation: YES

Explanation: Makes modest changes to the state personnel system (written into the constitution in 1918) in order to give the Governor greater flexibility in hiring and firing one percent of all state employees (or 325 jobs out of 32,500).  Changes to the state personnel system are long overdue.  This is a small step, but at least it is a step in the right direction.


Amendment 64 – Marijuana Legalization and Regulation

Recommendation: NO

Explanation: A few years ago, I was warming to the idea of legalization of some drugs due to the vast amount of money governments spent prosecuting drug users whose only crime may be drug use, which is largely a crime against oneself.  I will concede that some people may use marijuana recreationally and responsibly with few adverse side effects.

However, after Colorado legalized “medical marijuana,” legalization became a reality I could see with my own eyes and not just a hypothetical discussion.  I witnessed the criminal element of drug dealers coming out of the shadows and into our streets, parks and buses where they are closer to our kids.  The fact that “medical marijuana” is now legal hasn’t changed the type of people who are drug dealers and who want to see more young people “experiment” with a drug that is harmful to them in so many ways.  Making marijuana more readily available to adults obviously makes it more available to kids under 18.

Frankly, I don’t want to make it easier for drug dealers to do business or to lead our kids down a path that steals their potential and ruins their lives.


Amendment 65 – Instructing Colorado Lawmakers to Restrict Free Speech in Elections

Recommendation: NO

Explanation: This measure would instruct Colorado’s legislative representatives to support a federal constitutional amendment to limit personal campaign contributions.  Translation: a vote for Amendment 65 is a vote to restrict your First Amendment freedom of speech in elections.  The U.S. Supreme Court has correctly said that political speech is the heart of the First Amendment and that obviously includes the right of every American citizen to freely choose to spend his or her own hard-earned money to elect or defeat the candidate or issue of their choice.

The way to get big money out of politics is not to restrict the freedom of citizens.  The way to get big money out of politics is to take power and money away from government.  Without government control of power and money, few people or corporations would be motivated to spend vast sums of money to influence elections.

Finally, our elected representatives should be accountable to the voters, not bound by some silly amendment passed by a self-serving special interest that, ironically, spent a lot of money to get this amendment on the ballot.



My recommendations regarding the retention of judges is based upon whether they generally apply the law as written in the Colorado Constitution and Colorado Revised Statutes.  I recommend voting YES/RETAIN on those who adhere to the law as written and NO/DO NOT RETAIN on those who seem inclined to substitute their own policy preferences for those of the people and their elected representatives.

• Nathan B. COATS, Supreme Court, YES/RETAIN.

• Laurie A. BOORAS, Court of Appeals, NO/DO NOT RETAIN

• James S. CASEBOLT, Court of Appeals, YES/RETAIN

• Dennis A. GRAHAM, Court of Appeals, YES/RETAIN

• Gale T. MILLER, Court of Appeals, NO/DO NOT RETAIN

• Daniel Marc TAUBMAN, Court of Appeals, NO/DO NOT RETAIN

• John R. WEBB, Court of Appeals, YES/RETAIN

Obama on business: ignorance or arrogance

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

What’s more frustrating about President Obama – his ignorance of how difficult it is to make a profit in business or his arrogance that there’s so little he doesn’t know?

Here’s a man with less business experience than a third-grader with a lemonade stand and who has said that during his one, brief private-sector job he felt “like a spy behind enemy lines.”

You need not connect many dots to conclude that his attitude toward America’s businessmen and women is “dismissive, even derisive,” to quote from Obama’s 2009 Apologizing for America Tour.

Obama treats America’s job creators like inconsequential punching bags. His recent comment that government is more responsible for a business’ success than hard work, ingenuity or intelligence smacks of someone who – unlike, say, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs – achieved his success not because he’s especially talented or works harder than anyone else but because he’s a smooth talker and knows the right people.Read More

ObamaCare ruling is a mess with a message

In Notes by Mark Hillman

For anyone who naively thought the Supreme Court would render a clean and tidy decision on ObamaCare, Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority-of-one opinion should be instructive.

Rarely does the high court render an opinion that draws bright lines by simply applying the constitution as written. More often, the court’s opinion is sufficiently muddled that a future court in a similar case can arrive at any decision it desires simply by selectively quoting only the passages that support its desired outcome and ignoring those that do not.

Roberts did exactly that in finding ObamaCare’s insurance mandate unconstitutional under the constitution’s Commerce Clause: “[T]o permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.”

But next Roberts ignored the court’s precedent that distinguishes a “tax” from a “penalty,” as the dissenting conservative justices noted: “We have never held that any action imposed for the violation of the law is an exercise of Congress’ taxing power – even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when (as here) the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty.”Read More

Obama’s tangled health care tales

In Capitol Review by Mark Hillman

Isn’t it ironic that the Smartest President Ever – according to one historian – can say something so ridiculous that most high school civics students would recognize his statements to be hogwash?

After the Supreme Court concluded its hearings on the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”), President Obama said, during a White House news conference at which he clearly had to anticipate such questions, that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Court to strike down his health care law as beyond the constitutional limits on the powers of Congress.

He concluded that sentence with another whopper: that ObamaCare “was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected Congress.”

Lastly, he claimed that it would be “a good example” of “judicial activism” if “an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”

Each of those statements is, shall we say, dubious.Read More

After fighting honorably, Santorum must face reality

In Capitol Review by Mark Hillman

I like Rick Santorum.  I voted for him.  I even donated to his campaign.  I believe that he is a credible conservative who could provide a striking contrast to Barack Obama and who could resonate with blue-collar voters.

Santorum is a good person, but a good person must also recognize when he’s fighting because he has a chance to win and when he’s fighting just to be fighting.

The Santorum campaign is now unmistakably fighting just to be fighting.

It’s time for Santorum to suspend his campaign so that Republicans can focus on our most imperative mission for 2012 – defeating Barack Obama and his destructive, irresponsible agenda and debt and dependency.Read More

Stop treating employers like adversaries

In Blog, Capitol Review by Mark Hillman

At a time when state legislators should be doing everything possible to encourage job creation, a bill working its way through the Colorado Legislature unfairly paints employers as unreasonable and untrustworthy.

Worse still, Senate Bill 3 gives trial lawyers another opportunity to sink their teeth into Colorado’s job creators – extracting “damages” where none exist and forcing employers to pay dearly just to prove their innocence.

Would it surprise you to learn that the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), just happens to be a trial lawyer with one of the state’s most high-profile firms?  Or that, at the bill’s first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee which Carroll chairs, not a single witness claimed to have been denied a job or a promotion as a result of a credit history check?Read More

Santorum’s Surprise

In Capitol Review, Notes by Mark Hillman

Editor’s Note: My recent Capitol Review contained an old headline, but new text.

Nice guys don’t always finish last.  Sometimes they win three states in a single day.

Rick Santorum’s improbable hat trick — sweeping Republican presidential contests in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado — provided yet another surprise in a wildly unpredictable nominating process.  It also ensures that the primary season will last longer, that we will learn more about candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, and that voters in more states will have a say in selecting Barack Obama’s opponent.

Pundits gave Santorum a fighting chance to beat Romney in Missouri without Gingrich on the ballot.  But wins in Minnesota and Colorado were particularly noteworthy because Romney had decisively won both states in 2008.  This time, Romney slipped from first to third place in Minnesota, and in Colorado, where he garnered 60% in 2008, finished second with 35%.Read More